According to various reports and advocates for workplace safety, the construction industry in North Carolina has seen the highest number of workplace deaths, nearly 60 between January 2021 and September 2023, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor's Occupational Fatality Inspection Review data. This trend, consistently placing the construction sector at the forefront of […]
Know Your Workers' Compensation Rights in Charlotte, NC
Injuries at the workplace can happen anytime, and knowing your rights when it comes to workers' compensation can make a significant difference in your recovery and financial stability. Workers' compensation is a crucial safety net for employees who suffer injuries on the job in Charlotte. This coverage applies to a wide range of mental and physical injuries that can occur, including slips and falls, repetitive motion injuries, and exposure to hazardous materials.
In Charlotte, NC, employers are required by law to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. Rosensteel Fleishman Car Accident & Injury Lawyers is here to help you understand your rights, the workers' compensation claims process, and the role of an experienced attorney in safeguarding your interests.
Understanding Workers' Compensation in North Carolina
workers' compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of their work. In North Carolina, employers with three or more employees must provide workers' compensation coverage. This coverage protects both the employer and employee, as it allows employees to receive benefits for medical treatment and lost wages without having to prove their employer's negligence. In exchange, employees generally cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries.
Your Rights as an Injured Worker
As an injured worker in Charlotte, NC, you have certain rights under the state's workers' compensation laws.
The Right to Medical Treatment
Employers are required to cover all necessary and related medical expenses for your work-related injury or illness. This includes doctor's appointments, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and other treatments. You will have to notify all of the medical professionals involved in your case that your injury or illness happened on the job so that it can be documented for the insurance claim correctly.
The Right to Temporary Disability Benefits
If your doctor determines that you are unable to work for more than seven days due to your injury, you are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits. These benefits typically amount to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to 500 weeks from the date of the injury, with some exceptions allowed for extensions to this time.
The Right to Permanent Disability Benefits
If your injury results in permanent impairment, you may be entitled to receive permanent disability benefits. The amount and duration of these benefits depend on the severity of your impairment and the body part affected. The major categories that qualify for permanent disability are loss of both hands, paralysis, severe brain injury, or severe burns covering more than 33% of your body.
The Right to Vocational Rehabilitation
If you are unable to return to your previous job due to your injury, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. These services can help you find a suitable job, learn new skills, or receive additional education. An employer can request vocational rehabilitation service help at any time in this process, even if a worker has not yet reached their maximum days for disability.
The Right to Appeal a Denied Claim
Every workers’ compensation claim will be investigated before it is approved. If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. This can involve requesting a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission or pursuing further legal action. You should hire an experienced Charlotte workers compensation lawyer to help you through this complicated process.
Reporting Your Injury and Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
While the rights described above must be legally provided to all workers who sustain an injury or illness on the job, you must first prove that your medical condition is a direct result of your job or job duties. To protect your rights and ensure you receive the benefits you're entitled to, it's crucial to follow the appropriate steps after suffering a work-related injury.
Report Your Injury To Your Employer
To avoid complications in the claims process, it's important to report any workplace injury as soon as possible. In Charlotte, North Carolina, you must report your injury within 30 days to avoid jeopardizing your claim. This should be done in writing or an email so that you have documentation if needed. Companies should have a procedure for filling out an incident report to record the details of what happened while they are still fresh in everyone’s minds. In North Carolina this is called Form 18, which is a notice of your accident and request for compensation.
Seek Medical Treatment
Visit a doctor authorized by your employer or their insurance company. Except in an emergency situation, you must go to a doctor or facility that has been contracted by your employer to handle workers’ compensation injuries. Follow the doctor's treatment plan and keep all appointments to support your claim.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney
You’ve been injured or become sick because of something that happened while you were working. You need to focus on recovery and rehabilitation, not paperwork and bureaucracy. Navigating the workers' compensation process can be complex, and having an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney on your side can make all the difference in protecting your rights and obtaining the benefits you deserve.
Expertise In Workers' Compensation Law
An experienced attorney understands the complexities of North Carolina's workers' compensation laws and can guide you through the entire process. If your claim is denied or disputed, your attorney can advocate on your behalf, gather evidence to support your case, and represent you in hearings before the North Carolina Industrial Commission or in further legal proceedings. They will handle the communications and negotiations with insurance companies who will often try to minimize the benefits they pay out.
A knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney can help you receive the maximum benefits you're entitled to by helping to accurately assess your injuries, lost wages, and potential future losses. Insurance companies or employers may try to deny your claim because they say there is insufficient medical evidence, pre-existing conditions, or that you failed to follow appropriate workplace procedures. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can focus on your recovery while they take care of the legal complexities and paperwork associated with your claim.
Retaliation and Wrongful Termination After a Workers’ Comp Case
Injured workers in Charlotte may face retaliation and wrongful termination after filing a workers' comp claim. Although these actions are illegal, employers may retaliate by firing, demoting or reducing pay of the injured worker, isolating them from colleagues, or giving them poor performance reviews. In order to protect their rights, injured workers should document any retaliatory actions and report them immediately to their employer's human resources department or an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Charlotte can help injured workers fight against retaliation and wrongful termination. They can provide legal support and representation to ensure that the worker is treated fairly and justly. If you're experiencing retaliation or wrongful termination after filing a workers' comp claim, contact an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Questions to Ask During Your Free Consultation
Choosing the right workers' comp lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Be sure to ask about their experience handling cases similar to yours and their success rate. You should also inquire about their communication style and level of support throughout the legal process. It is important to understand their fee structure and whether they work on a contingency basis. Make sure to get a clear understanding of the timeline for your case and what kind of outcomes you can expect. By asking these key questions upfront, you'll be able to determine if a lawyer has the experience and expertise necessary to handle your case effectively.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation on your Charlotte workers compensation case. We are here to help you make the best decisions about your case.
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